Hannah Budge: “Women in Agriculture in the Scottish Islands”

In Students by General Account

Historically agriculture was deemed a masculine industry, due to its physically demanding nature. However, in recent times there has been a growth of women entering the industry and a much greater awareness of the extensive roles which they have always held within the farming household. Despite the increased awareness there continues to be barriers to women entering agriculture. Research has been conducted focussing on this subject in Scotland, however there is a gap in knowledge regarding barriers specifically focusing on island communities. Thus, this PhD which is in collaboration with the Scottish Government will use focus groups and interviews with residents of the islands to find out the barriers which women in and those who are trying to enter the agriculture industry face in everyday life. It will uncover whether this is similar to those faced on the mainland Scotland and the very difference between the islands themselves.
I completed the MSc Food and Rural Development Research at Newcastle University in September 2019, for which I achieved a Distinction. During the masters I undertook a work placement with Professor Sally Shortall, as part of this I regularly attended the Women in Agriculture Task Force meetings and produced an information document for discussion. Furthermore, I attended the Trans-Atlantic Rural Network Conference in Aberdeen, where I presented critical comments on an extended abstract to the cohort of rural academic scholars. My thesis for the MSc examined the impact of the Lerwick Up-Helly-Aa gender debate on Shetland society; a fire festival which excludes women from taking part in the main procession. I was successful in obtaining funding from the SNES travel fund in order to go to the islands to conduct interviews for this research.